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Shaping up to be a prepper

Being prepared for a SHTF scenario is instrumental to preppers. Imagine for a moment that it is winter and you live in the Southern End of Lancaster County. It’s been a really rough winter, the likes of which you have not seen in the last 20 years. Giant ice chunks have formed on the Susquehanna River and got all jammed up at the Holtwood Dam. (Remember – I said IMAGINE). Now what happens when that ice breaks loose and topples over the dam and makes it down river and does damage to Peach Bottom – you know the nuclear power plant across the River in York County? Are you still sure you are prepared for any SHTF scenario?

If you had to evacuate, using this hypothetical scenario, could you? Could you get your self and your family and your pets to safety? As preppers we plan for an energy crisis, power outages, natural disasters, and evacuations, among other scenarios. Many preppers harvest their own food and utilize solar energy and work to live off grid. How many though physically and mentally prepare?

A BOB – bug out bag – is a no brainer for preppers. How much should one weigh though? The general rule of thumb is 25% of your body weight. So, a 300 pound man should be able to carry a 75 lb bag. A 200 pound person should be able to carry a 50 lb bag. When determining the weight of your bag, remember that you may well be on foot, for any of a variety of reasons.

An incredibly unofficial poll on a prepping group on Facebook recently had varied results concerning the suggested weight. One person said a pound. The more common feedback was in around 25 to 30 pounds. Several good suggestions though were included. One person suggested packing a 20 pound weight in your bag and see how far you can walk. Get the whole family involved. If something were to happen, you don not want to be stuck being everyone’s pack mule.

Where do you begin?

If you are overweight or have a health concern, like diabetes, you should see your physician before beginning any exercise routine. That said, get up and do something. Walk. When at a store, park further away so you have to walk further in the parking lots. Join a gym. Take a martial arts class. Most gyms, like Lancaster’s Universal Athletic Club, include martial arts in the general membership. (Saturday, 8 March by the way UAC is holding an open house. If you are in Lancaster, stop out).

Minimum goals

There really is no set minimum for what a prepper should or should not be able to do. Preppers, by nature, are well rounded and prepared for many scenarios. Likewise, fitness goals should also be well rounded. You should be able to do pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, a mile run, a fireman’s carry, and swim. The Navy SEAL minimum guidelines require a 500 yard swim be done in 12:30 and a 1.5 mile to be run in 10:30. It also requires a minimum of 50 pushups and 50 sit-ups, as well as 10 pull-ups.

Fitness schedule

Your fitness schedule should include both cardiovascular and weight lifting. Cardiovascular exercise can include a variety of activities. Treadmill, jogging, stair climbing, biking and swimming are all great cardio exercises. Try to do 30 minutes a day of cardio. Weight lifting should be between 30 and 60 minutes. Work every major muscle group.

Taking Control

Taking control of your own life is hard sometimes. There is so much to prepare for and to get ready. Even just taking one aspect – shaping up – is hard to compartmentalize. As a diabetic, I aim to take control for obvious health reasons and also for the hypothetical prepping related scenarios. Follow my trials and successes as I offer suggestions to take control of your own health and shape up to be a fit prepper.

Upcoming Events & Information Request

Do you have an upcoming event or information that would interest the Lancaster Prepper community? Is there a topic of interest you would like to see covered? If so, please email Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman at

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